Neil Taylor: Upper Tampa Bay

Beware of afternoon storms

Heading into the long, hot stretch of summer- here is the scoop on the upper stretches of Tampa Bay.

Flounder:  Not yet.  But this could change at any time.

Redfish are just not in the best numbers compared to other years.   But there are always some up here.  These fish are the most sensitive to noise and movement and the stealth angler has the advantage.   Long casts with light lines and leaders with soft-landing lures is the best bet.   There is action to be had but it has not been as hot as it was 6 to 7 years ago.

Trout action is weak, probably will be for most of the summer.   Look to other areas if this is the species you want to catch.

Black drum are easy at the big bridges, their summertime home.   This isn’t really news and it is just how it should be.   Zero food value when they get larger, they are beasts and a challenge on the “pompano tackle.”

Pompano:  better odds every day that goes by.  The catches are happening, just not in the numbers we will see “any day now.”  It could be days from now or a couple of weeks but it is on the verge of the best pompano opportunities of the year.     Use the Silly Willy in bright yellow and add a pink teaser.   Need teasers?  Gator Jim’s in St Pete got a bunch of them.

Regular rains are here, somewhat earlier than most years!   The influx of water has kept water temperatures even in the upper part of the Bay.   The glut of rain from the tropical storm has leveled out and regular rains have kept the water murky, but the fish like the oxygen and temperature.  Will we see a tropical storm this week?  It is possible.

The numbers of snook continue to remain poor and there is little question that the recovery of that species is still going to take more time  A majority of knowledgeable anglers won’t fish the species at all, something that helps avoid accidental loss of fish that are vital to the upcoming spawn.   This marks the eighth year that I removed the species as a target or my own charters, with hopes that their numbers will turn around significantly in 2018.    The state has failed with their decision to reopen this species to harvest.   If you catch a snook:  don’t take it out of the water for eight minutes taking pictures.    Don’t “get a weight” of the fish.    Don’t be part of the problem.  Enjoy the species if you cross paths, but take extra steps to make sure those fish remain in the living population.

As always: Be careful out there!

Neil Taylor
(Cell) 727-692-6345

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Neil Taylor
Full time kayak fishing guide, Neil was an advocate for conservation since before the time he started guiding. Outdoor writer, speaker and radio show host, Neil connected closely with Captain Mel Berman and did many positives with Mel to promote ethical angling. After Mel passed away, Neil managed and eventually became that web site’s owner.